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Health Bulletin


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  1. #611
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Chronic stress may lead to diabetes

    Could stress play a role in development of diabetes? A study by the doctors at Delhi's University College of Medical Sciences has found a link between the two most common chronic ailments in urban India.

    The researchers reviewed health parameters of 1,000 people aged 30 years and above, including 500 newly detected type II diabetes patients, and found the disease was more common in people who suffered from chronic stress. The cause of stress included loss of job, separation from spouse or death of a relative among others.

    Dr S V Madhu, the lead researcher, said increased secretion of the stress hormone—cortisol—leads to redistribution of fat, central obesity and insulin resistance. He added, "Higher stress levels also causes activation of oxidative and inflammatory pathways resulting eventually in development of type II diabetes."

    Dr Madhu, who heads the medicine and the endocrinology and metabolism division at UCMS, said this is the first study that has used different stress scales to characterize chronic psychological stress and evaluate its role in development of diabetes.

    Doctors said, among the stress scales, the ability to cope with stress was found to be the strongest independent predictor of diabetes with an odds ratio of 0.77 that translates to a 33 percent lower risk of diabetes. "This is a positive finding. It shows that de-stressing mechanisms such as yoga, listening to music, sports or travelling can reduce the risk factor," said another senior doctor.

    Simply put, diabetes is a condition in which the body has trouble turning food into energy. All bodies break down digested food into a sugar called glucose, their main source of fuel. In a healthy person, the hormone insulin helps glucose enter the cells. But in a diabetic, the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, or the body does not properly use it. Cells starve while glucose builds up in the blood.

    There are two predominant types of diabetes. In Type 1, the immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. In Type 2, which accounts for an estimated 90-95% of all cases, either the body's cells are not sufficiently receptive to insulin or the pancreas makes too little of the hormone, or both.

    With more than 63 million diabetic patients, India is second only to China in the number of people living with the ailment. However, awareness about the disease remains low, says Dr B M Makkar from Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India, RSSDI.

    "Studies show almost 85 percent of type II diabetics are overweight. However, only six to ten percent are aware that being overweight put them at a higher risk for diabetes," Dr Kakkar added.


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  2. #612
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Chronic stress may lead to diabetes

    Could stress play a role in development of diabetes? A study by the doctors at Delhi's University College of Medical Sciences has found a link between the two most common chronic ailments in urban India.

    The researchers reviewed health parameters of 1,000 people aged 30 years and above, including 500 newly detected type II diabetes patients, and found the disease was more common in people who suffered from chronic stress. The cause of stress included loss of job, separation from spouse or death of a relative among others.

    Dr S V Madhu, the lead researcher, said increased secretion of the stress hormone—cortisol—leads to redistribution of fat, central obesity and insulin resistance. He added, "Higher stress levels also causes activation of oxidative and inflammatory pathways resulting eventually in development of type II diabetes."

    Dr Madhu, who heads the medicine and the endocrinology and metabolism division at UCMS, said this is the first study that has used different stress scales to characterize chronic psychological stress and evaluate its role in development of diabetes.

    Doctors said, among the stress scales, the ability to cope with stress was found to be the strongest independent predictor of diabetes with an odds ratio of 0.77 that translates to a 33 percent lower risk of diabetes. "This is a positive finding. It shows that de-stressing mechanisms such as yoga, listening to music, sports or travelling can reduce the risk factor," said another senior doctor.

    Simply put, diabetes is a condition in which the body has trouble turning food into energy. All bodies break down digested food into a sugar called glucose, their main source of fuel. In a healthy person, the hormone insulin helps glucose enter the cells. But in a diabetic, the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, or the body does not properly use it. Cells starve while glucose builds up in the blood.

    There are two predominant types of diabetes. In Type 1, the immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. In Type 2, which accounts for an estimated 90-95% of all cases, either the body's cells are not sufficiently receptive to insulin or the pancreas makes too little of the hormone, or both.

    With more than 63 million diabetic patients, India is second only to China in the number of people living with the ailment. However, awareness about the disease remains low, says Dr B M Makkar from Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India, RSSDI.

    "Studies show almost 85 percent of type II diabetics are overweight. However, only six to ten percent are aware that being overweight put them at a higher risk for diabetes," Dr Kakkar added.


  3. #613
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Obese child can show heart attack warning signs

    Obese children can show heart attack warning signs from as young as 11, according to a new study.

    The obese kids were at risk though it was reversable with moderate exercise schedule, an Australian researcher said.

    "All it takes is 40 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week," David Celermajer, a heart researcher at Sydney Medical School, was quoted as saying by AAP news agency today.

    He and his team believed a body mass index (BMI) above 23 was unhealthy.

    "We have found that 11- and 12-year-olds whose BMI is 25 have already damaged their blood vessels," he said, adding regular exercise can restore the vessels to a healthy state in about a year.

    "It can be recreational sport or games at school. They don't need to run a marathon but they must build up a light sweat. The exercise must be sustained or the benefit will be lost," he said.

    "You can't just do it for a year and stop," Celermajer said.

    "Another risk factor that can be reversed is passive smoking," he said.

    His findings are based on a study of 15-year-old children that shows passive smoking causes damage to blood vessels.

    But this can also be reversed in most cases with a smoke-free environment for three years.

    "The simplest is for the parent to stop smoking or not smoke near their children.

    Celermajer and his team are now aiming to find a way to reverse the risk faced by children with a low birth weight.

    "I don't want to panic people. But those who weigh under 2.5 kg at birth are at increased risk of heart attacks and stroke," said the researcher.

    "We think it is highly likely to be reversible. People know about cholesterol, smoking and obesity. The next frontier is low-birthweight babies," he says.

    "The knowledge that heart disease begins in childhood or young adult life gives tremendous hope, we can delay or prevent catastrophic heart attack and stroke in middle age," said Celermajer.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Blocking egg growth in mosquitoes can fight malaria: Study

    Blocking egg development in malaria mosquito could reduce transmission of the deadly disease, a new Harvard study has found. The study shows that egg development in the mosquito species primarily responsible for spreading malaria depends on a switch in the female that is turned on by a male hormone delivered during sex.

    Blocking the activation of this switch could impair the ability of the species, Anopheles gambiae, to reproduce, and may be a viable future strategy for mosquito and malaria control, researchers said.

    "These findings represent a significant step forward in our understanding of how these devastating malaria vectors reproduce," said Flaminia Catteruccia, associate professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and University of Perugia (UNIPG). Malaria is a leading cause of death in tropical and subtropical regions.

    According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, malaria claims nearly 660,000 lives per year, 90% of them in Africa — and most of them children. There were an estimated 216 million malaria cases worldwide in 2010, mostly among pregnant women and children.


  5. #615
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Blocking egg growth in mosquitoes can fight malaria: Study

    Blocking egg development in malaria mosquito could reduce transmission of the deadly disease, a new Harvard study has found. The study shows that egg development in the mosquito species primarily responsible for spreading malaria depends on a switch in the female that is turned on by a male hormone delivered during sex.

    Blocking the activation of this switch could impair the ability of the species, Anopheles gambiae, to reproduce, and may be a viable future strategy for mosquito and malaria control, researchers said.

    "These findings represent a significant step forward in our understanding of how these devastating malaria vectors reproduce," said Flaminia Catteruccia, associate professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and University of Perugia (UNIPG). Malaria is a leading cause of death in tropical and subtropical regions.

    According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, malaria claims nearly 660,000 lives per year, 90% of them in Africa — and most of them children. There were an estimated 216 million malaria cases worldwide in 2010, mostly among pregnant women and children.


  6. #616
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New two-hormone drug shows promise in diabetes, obesity

    An experimental drug that mimics the effects of two naturally occurring hormones appears to work significantly better than existing single-hormone medicines against diabetes and obesity, scientists said on Wednesday.

    A team of German and U.S.-based researchers said they are using "mother nature's toolkit" to seek a breakthrough for treating type 2 diabetes and related obesity which is affecting rapidly growing numbers of people in the West and many developing nations.

    The new dual-action molecule, which is being developed by Swiss drugmaker Roche, targets receptors for hormones known as GLP-1 and GIP that play a critical role in regulating the body's metabolism.

    Currently approved injectable drugs such as Novo Nordisk's Victoza and tta from Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca mimic only GLP-1.

    By addressing two hormones at once, researchers said the new molecule was more potent and could be administered at lower doses, reducing side effects such as nausea and vomiting that are associated with GLP-1 drugs and can limit their use.

    The new drug was assessed in a short clinical study involving 53 obese patients with type 2 diabetes, as well as in laboratory studies on mice, rats and monkeys.

    In all these cases the scientists found a synergistic effect from combining the GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) and GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide).

    "We are using mother nature's toolkit and we're hoping to find the right combination that will produce a breakthrough," researcher Matthias Tschoep of the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity at the Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich told Reuters.

    "I believe a combination of things will be necessary to reach the efficacy and power to really cure and prevent type 2 diabetes and obesity."

    Tschoep and colleagues are also investigating combining other hormones involved in metabolism and insulin release in a single drug.

    BIOTECH ACQUISITION

    The Munich team, working with scientists from Indiana University, detailed the advantages of the new GLP-1/GIP drug in a paper in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

    The experimental molecule proved considerably more effective than existing medications in controlling blood glucose levels and reducing weight. In some of the tests, the impact of the dual-action treatment was equivalent to that seen with a 10-fold higher dose of approved GLP-1 drugs.

    The clinical trial involving obese patients, which was conducted by Roche, produced a strong reduction in blood glucose levels - but the six-week study was not long enough to give a definitive result on weight loss in humans.

    While there were no serious side effects in the clinical trial, a few patients did some experience nausea.

    Current GLP-1 drugs are expected to rack up global sales of $2.9 billion in 2013, a figure that is forecast to rise to $6.9 billion by 2018 as more products enter the market, according to consensus estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.

    Roche acquired rights to the new product after buying Marcadia Biotech in 2011 and currently has the drug in Phase I development. A company spokesman declined to comment further on plans for the medicine.

    Drugmakers are competing fiercely in the type 2 diabetes market as the number of people with the disease continues to grow rapidly. Finding successful treatments for obesity is proving difficult, however, and sales of various types of weight-loss drugs have been disappointing.

    Novo Nordisk has been testing high doses of its GLP-1 drug as an obesity treatment but a number of analysts have questioned whether it will produce a big enough effect to be a commercial success.


  7. #617
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Why newborns get sick so often

    A new study has suggested that newborns are lacking in the toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) that recognizes different viruses and mediates immune response to these viruses

    This protein is involved in the recognition of different viruses and mediates the immune response to them.

    Without this protein, newborn immune cells are not equipped to recognize and react appropriately to certain viruses, in particular, the herpes simplex virus known as HSV.

    Lucija Slavica, a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research at the University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg, Sweden, said that this study helps to understand the molecular basis for the immaturity of the immune system of newborns, which we believe will contribute to development of therapeutic interventions to protect this vulnerable population group.

    To make this discovery, scientists compared cells from the cord blood of newborns with the same type of blood cells from adults. The cells from newborns did not contain the protein TLR3, which was present in adult cells.
    These cells rid the body of viral-infected cells, ultimately eliminating viral infections. When researchers treated both cell groups with a synthetic component mimicking a viral presence, the adult immune cells reacted by secreting substances involved in immune reaction against viruses (interferon-gamma) and killed cells infected with virus, while cells from newborns could not do this or were impaired in performing this function.

    The research has been published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Paracetamol affects foetus' development

    A new study has suggested that long-term use of paracetamol during pregnancy could increase the risk of adverse effects on child development.
    The study uses data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study to investigate the effect of paracetamol during pregnancy on psychomotor development, behaviour and temperament at 3 years of age.
    Almost 3000 sibling pairs were included in the study.

    By comparing children who were exposed to paracetamol during pregnancy with unexposed siblings of the same sex, researchers could control for a variety of genetic and environmental factors, in addition to other important factors like infections, fever, use of other medications, alcohol intake and smoking.

    The study shows that children who had been exposed to paracetamol for more than 28 days of pregnancy had poorer gross motor skills, poor communication skills and more behavioural problems compared with unexposed siblings.

    The same trend was seen with paracetamol taken for less than 28 days, but this was weaker.

    To investigate whether the underlying illness could be the cause of the effect on the children, and not paracetamol itself, the researchers examined a different type of analgesic with another type of mechanism of action (ibuprofen).

    The study has been published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.


  9. #619
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Chronic use of painkillers may lead to depression

    Long-term use of prescription-based painkillers can increase the risk of depression, a new study has found.
    Opioid analgesics, or prescription-based narcotic pain killers, have long been known to reduce pain, but reports of adverse effects and addiction continue to surface.

    Now, a team of investigators led by a Saint Louis University researcher has discovered a link between chronic use of pain-relieving medication and increase in the risk of developing major depression.

    The study analysed medical record data of about 50,000 veterans who had no history of opioid use or depression, and were subsequently prescribed opioid pain killers.

    Patients who started and remained on opioids for 180 days or longer were at a 53% increased risk of developing a new episode of depression, and those using opioids for 90-180 days were at a 25% increased risk compared to patients who never took opioids for longer than 1-89 days.

    "These findings suggest that the longer one is exposed to opioid analgesics, the greater is their risk of developing depression," said Jeffrey Scherrer, principal investigator of the study.

    "Opioids have long been known to allay pain and suffering, but reports of adverse effects are abundant and continue to emerge," said Scherrer.

    Scherrer said even though there is no clear evidence about the mechanisms by which opioids may contribute to the development of depression in a patient, there could be several factors that lead to it.

    Some of these include opioid-induced resetting of the brain's "reward pathway" to a higher level, which means the chronic use of narcotic pain killers can elevate the threshold for a person's ability to experience pleasure from natural rewards such as a food or sexual activity.

    Other factors may include body aches months and years after the use of opioids has stopped, side effects such as adrenal, testosterone and vitamin D deficiencies and glucose dysregulation.

    The study also suggests that the higher the dose of opioid analgesics, the greater the risk of depression.

    "Preliminary evidence suggests that if you can keep your daily dose low, you may be at lower risk for depression," Scherrer said.

    The study was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.


  10. #620
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Hefty tax on soda can cut obesity: UK study

    Slapping a 20% tax on soda in Britain could cut the number of obese adults by about 1,80,000, according to a new study.

    Though the number works out to a modest drop of 1.3% in obesity, scientists say that reduction would still be worthwhile in the UK, which has a population of about 63 million and is the fattest country in Western Europe. About one in four Britons is obese.

    Researchers at Oxford University and the University of Reading estimated a 20% tax on soft drinks would reduce sales by 15% and that people would buy beverages like orange juice, milk and diet drinks instead . They said the tax would have the biggest impact on people under 30, who drink more sugary drinks than anyone else.

    "Every possible alternative that people would buy is going to be better than a sugary drink," said Mike Rayner of Oxford, one of the study authors. "( The tax) is not a panacea, but it's part of the solution."

    Rayner acknowledged the government might shy away from introducing such a hefty tax at a time when the economy is shaky. Last year, Britain's Conservative-led coalition had to backtrack on a sales tax it planned to levy on fat-laden meat pies after a public outcry.

    Such soft drink taxes have been used or considered elsewhere, including France, Mexico, Norway and some US states, but previous analysis have found mixed results on people's drinking habits.

    In the past, the UK has relied on convincing businesses to make their products healthier as opposed to resorting to taxes; that strategy reduced salt levels in processed foods by 20% to 50%.

    Last week, Britain announced another government-led initiative, in which several major food companies promised to cut the amount of saturated fat in their products. Critics slammed the deal and said the UK shouldn't rely on voluntary measures to fight the country's growing waistlines.


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